Shopping for a new MINI Cooper?
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QUALITY | 7 out of 10
Everywhere you look, the MINI exhibits very good build quality
Wind and road noise grow intrusive at highway speeds
Overall, the Cooper is much roomier inside than people expect
With a name like the MINI Cooper, this latest BMW product should be especially cramped inside, but reviews read by TheCarConnection.com show this isn't necessarily the case. Being a BMW subsidiary also benefits the 2009 MINI Cooper in the overall quality department, as reviewers inevitably praise the high build quality on this little hatchback.
The 2009 MINI Cooper hardtop offers standard seating for four, but the odds of cramming four full-sized adults into the passenger compartment are minimal at best. Up front, ConsumerGuide reports that the MINI Cooper's "generous seat travel and a high ceiling accommodate even large occupants," and MyRide.com adds that "tall drivers needn't worry about space in the MINI." Edmunds agrees that "neither headroom nor legroom is an issue" for those riding closest to the windshield, but the rear seats are another matter entirely. The MINI Cooper's second row offers "nearly nonexistent legroom," according to Edmunds, while ConsumerGuide feels that "knee space is tight even with front seats set back partially; it disappears with them fully rearward." MyRide.com reviewers offer a succinct and appropriate summary of reviewer sentiment regarding the rear seats, stating simply that "the rear seat in the MINI is a joke."
Even the most efficient interior layout will eventually run into the volume limits imposed by the 2009 MINI Cooper's petite dimensions. With so much space devoted to the front passengers on the 2009 MINI Cooper John Cooper Works and base editions, there is little room left over for cargo. MyRide.com is surprised to find that "for a car aimed at the young and the hip, the MINI has an amazing lack of storage space." Edmunds reviewers also point out that "trunk space behind the rear seat is severely limited, but folding down the 50/50-split rear seat creates a useful square-shaped cargo area." You also won't find much room for personal items inside the MINI Cooper's passenger area, as ConsumerGuide notes that, "aside from large map pockets in the doors and a two-tier glovebox, interior storage is meager." If the MINI's styling appeals to you but you can't live with the restricted cargo space, you might want to look at the 2009 MINI Cooper Clubman, which is slightly larger and covered in a separate review on TheCarConnection.com.
BMW is renowned for the exemplary workmanship and build quality featured on all of the company's vehicles, and the 2009 MINI Cooper does its part to uphold the BMW reputation for quality. Kelley Blue Book calls the interior "truly one-of-a-kind," with high-end build elements like "handsomely sewn seats" and "backlit armrests in the doors." ConsumerGuide is normally very conservative in their reviews of build quality, but they say that the 2009 MINI Cooper exhibits "solid workmanship" throughout the cabin. MyRide.com agrees when it comes to build quality, proclaiming that "everywhere you look, the MINI exhibits very good build quality." However, those same MyRide.com reviewers are more critical when it comes to the actual materials employed, claiming they are "all over the map," with a few upscale elements like the "soft touch plastic" featured on the door panels and dash that are mitigated by the poor "outer dash vent housings and the squeaky, flimsy center console."
While the MINI Cooper has its fair share of unappealing elements in this category, none is more noticeable or annoying than the road noise that invades the cockpit at even moderate speeds. Edmunds calls the 2009 MINI Cooper "an amusement park ride on wheels, albeit a noisy one," and ConsumerGuide agrees that "wind and road noise grow intrusive at highway speeds." The overall driving experience can be very enjoyable with the 2009 MINI Cooper, but MyRide.com says daily commuting is "where the party starts to wear thin," as the unnecessarily loud exterior noises can be "fatiguing to the point of exhaustion."
Before you buy a 2009 MINI Cooper, make sure you test drive it on the highway.